The New Insurance Mandate: Why Does My Brother Need Maternity Coverage?

Mandatory maternity coverage… for men? Unfortunately, this is no April Fools joke.

Does this shirt make me look pregnant?

If it sounds confusing, you’re not alone. In fact, the broker community in California is puzzled!

In California, group health plans already include maternity coverage. But Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill that will also mandate maternity coverage for individual insurance. That’s right: this coverage will be mandatory—whether you want it or not, whether you’re male or female.

According to the Sacramento Bee, “The legislation was supported by Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield of California. It was opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce which said the requirement would deter insurers from offering discounted plans.”

The Senate Majority Caucus website reported that “SB 222, the ‘Maternity Coverage Availability Act,’ authored by Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), will require health insurance plans — as of July 1, 2012 — to provide maternity coverage as part of their individual health insurance policies.” 

Is mandatory maternity coverage really necessary?

Our concern at Archer Weiss is that people who don’t want maternity coverage will now be forced to purchase it. If you’re not planning on having children, or perhaps are unable to have children, this means you’ll be paying for benefits you don’t need.

This new maternity mandate is as bewildering to us as it probably is to you. But we wanted to bring this issue to your attention so that you can take whatever action you feel is appropriate, such as writing your state legislator and expressing your views.

Get ready for higher rates

The Senate Majority Caucus claims “SB 222 will save the state money by increasing maternity coverage options for women, thus reducing the burden on the state to provide maternity coverage.”

Frankly, we just don’t see how adding coverage will reduce costs.

We don’t like higher insurance rates any more than you do. But we need to be upfront about what will happen according to the providers we’ve consulted so far. So brace yourself for the increases that are likely to come as a result of the new mandatory coverage, which is expected to raise rates by 6% (not including normal inflationary rate increases).

If you’d like to vent, please feel free to leave a comment. We’d like to hear your thoughts on this matter. However, your energy may be better spent writing to your California congressional representative.

If you’d like to stay informed on this issue and others like it, please subscribe to the blog so we can keep you up to date as developments unfold.

~ by Barbara Archer on November 1, 2011.

20 Responses to “The New Insurance Mandate: Why Does My Brother Need Maternity Coverage?”

  1. Interesting…I am all for providing comprehensive coverage, but all of the rate increases are making insurance transactions so frustrating. Will be carefully watching this new change.

    • I know how you feel. I just received my increase and I am almost paying $2000 a month. That is criminal.

  2. Very interesting that they would “require” maternity insurance for everyone…. but men?! I suppose this would also include the many 70-year-old women who still work.

  3. I truly hope this doesn’t mean that menopausal women will be required to have maternity coverage. Is this a way to spread out the cost over everyone so that those who don’t need it will pay part of the cost of those who do?

    • Spreading the risk is certainly a bi-product of the bill but I think Gov. Brown’s intent was to protect pregnant women.

  4. I’m not in favor of any insurance mandates. I am long past childbearing, and the idea that I would have to have maternity coverage is galling. Of course, I don’t live in California for a host of other reasons – but this would be one more reason not to move there.

    • Thank you for your comment. I too am past child bearing years and my premium increases are bad enough. We should be able to choose the benefits we need.

  5. Thank you for presenting this new mandate. I’m not up to speed about it quite yet and your post has me intrigued to research it a bit more before I come to any conclusions. Thank you for making us aware.

    • You are most welcome. We called Gov. Brown’s office and he gave us a copy of the actual legislation which is confusing at best. We checked our data with the Health Insurance companies to see how they are interpreting the new law. In California, most group coverage already has maternity in it. Individual Insurance does not. The law will change that. Let me know what you learn. I would be very interested.

  6. Leave it to Jerry Brown to make more mistakes. The sales tax cost me my affiliate program with Amazon. If I have to have maternity coverage, can I have a baby?

  7. Very interesting. Am curious to see how this plays out…

  8. We are in such a mess with healthcare, politics, the economy, jobs – why not another knot on the tree??!!

  9. It’s always the “unintended consequences” that kill us – hope it doesn’t catch on in Florida – thanks for the info

  10. Yeah, that’s really interesting that they’d require something easily so optional for everyone. Am very interested to see how this plays out…

  11. Wow. Interesting. Not sure I agree with everything our governor is doing. I’ll be watching this one.

  12. Keep up the quality posts!

  13. I feel that any pregnancy related insurance should be available as supplemental insurance like dental insurance. Lots of women of childbearing age are either single, celibate, sterile, or lesbians. There is no reason to penalize all of us with higher premiums for our health insurance when pregnancy is 100% preventable without pharmaceuticals. Pregnancy is not a disease. It is not genetic, nor caused by something in the food, air, or water that is beyond our control. Pregnancy insurance could be offered as supplemental insurance such as a plan like AFLAC.

  14. This is absolutely ridiculous. Pregnancy is not a disease. It is 100% preventable through no need of pharmaceutacls or x-rays, etc. Pregnancy related coverage should be offered through a separate insurance plan, as Dental Insurance is. You don’t catch pregnancy. It isn’t caused by genes you inherited, it isn’t caused by stuff in the food, air, and water. Not every woman is having unprotected sex, or in a relationship, many are celibate by choice or circumstance, many are sterile, past menopause or are lesbians. Or male. I am astounded they are focing men to pay at all. Angry that they lump all women into the baby-making category, but making men pay is even worse! For the women who think they can’t figure out how to avoid sex when they are fertile, or how a condom works, or can’t get their husband/boyfriend who’m they are having sex with to help out with the cost of their birth control or pregnancy costs, they may want to purchase pregnancy insurance through a supplemental insurance program, maybe like Aflac. and if a woman is needing birth control or maternity care, chances are there is a guy somewhere paying half her rent or mortgage. I am a single woman who has to pay all of my rent myself and gets no tax breaks because cats do not qualify for the child tax credit, yet I’m expected to take what’s left of my income to pay for someone else’s vaginal escapades? Please someone, if there is a petition to repeal this law, please forward it to me!!!!

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